In the southwestern part of Utah in the United States lies a wondrous work of erosion – Bryce Canyon. Despite its name, Bryce Canyon is an eroded natural amphitheater rather than a canyon. The most notable features of Bryce Canyon are its “hoodoos”, or geological structures formed by harsh weather erosion caused by wind, ice and water. One of the hoodoos is called Thor’s Hammer because its shape resembles that of a hammer. Visitors to Bryce Canyon can enjoy a scenic drive to 13 viewpoints overlooking the canyon. Tourists can also enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Bryce Canyon is close to both Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, as well as the town of Kanab, Utah, where many visitors to the area choose to find accommodation. Lodging can also be found in Bryce Canyon National Park’s two campgrounds or its lodge.
Martha’s Vineyard is a small island off the southern coast of Cape Cod in the state of Massachusetts on the east coast of the United States. The island is home to a number of quaint beach towns, the three most popular being Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown. Martha’s Vineyard has a land area of 232 square kilometers (87 square miles) and has an estimated year-round population of 15,000 residents, though over 60,000 people have been known to visit at once during the summer which is the island’s busiest season for tourism. Most visitors to Martha’s Vineyard simply enjoy the beach town life, bike the extensive trail network and admire the stunning Victorian architecture of the old houses in Oak Bluffs. Gay Head Cliffs is a popular landmark on the western-most part of the island. The cliffs are made entirely of colorful clay. Tourist to Martha’s Vineyard can find excellent accommodation in any of the coastal towns, or opt for a more secluded stay on the interior of the island.
One of the most popular waterfalls in Yosemite National Park of California in the United States, Vernal fall measures 97 meters (317 feet) high. A hike along the Mist Trail to the fall takes visitors very close to the fall where they become shrouded in its mist. The hike to Vernal Fall is short at only 2.1 km (1.3 miles) long. At the top of the fall hikers enjoy a rest at the Emerald Pool, named for its deep green color, which is a small lake where some visitors choose to swim, though it is against the park rules and can be dangerous if care is not taken. Travelers who wish to visit Vernal Fall should make it a part of a greater trip to the awe-inspiring Yosemite National Park where many other spectacular natural sights can be enjoyed. Accommodation is plentiful at the park and includes hotels as well as campgrounds. There is a $20 fee to enter Yosemite National Park.
Beautiful Lake Tahoe lies in the Sierra Nevada mountain range along the border of California and Nevada in the United States. With 496 square kilometers (192 sq miles) of surface area and lovely mountain scenery, the lake is a major tourist destination year round. There are over 12 ski resorts at Lake Tahoe and visitors can find all manner of winter activities here including snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, snow tubing, and more. Many water sports are also enjoyed here, such as swimming, boating, water skiing, and scuba diving. A large variety of accommodation can be found on the lake, from ritzy expensive resorts to backpacker style hostels.
Towering over nearby Portland, Oregon, is the Majestic Mount Hood. It stands 3,429 meters (11,249 feet) tall and is home to 12 glaciers. Mount Hood has 6 ski resorts: Timberline, Mount Hood Meadows, Ski Bowl, Cooper Spur, Snow Bunny and Summit. Timberline is the only year-round ski-lift in all of North America. Mount Hood is a dormant volcano, but it is consider the volcano most likely to erupt in Oregon with a 7% chance of eruption in the next 30 years. It is popular with climbers in addition to skiers, and about 10,000 people reach its summit yearly. Hikers can enjoy trekking on the Timberline Trail which circumnavigates the mountain, and the Pacific Crest Trail also passes by via the Timberline Trail. Most of the ski resorts have beautiful lodges to stay in, and any kind of accommodation can be found in the city of Portland, 124 km (77 miles) away. There are also many small towns in the area that offer some accommodation, including Government Camp, the closest town to the ski resorts.
The sunny South shore of the island of Kauai (known as the “Garden Isle”) in the tropical state of Hawaii in the United States is home to Poipu Beach. Poipu Beach is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top 10 beaches due to its pristine white sands, swaying palm trees, and sparkling blue waters. The activities to be enjoyed in the area are seemingly endless and include kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking, surfing, mountain biking, deep-sea fishing, horseback riding and ATV tours. There are also two 18-hole golf courses. The classic beach is popular for weddings and honeymoons. There is a large variety of accommodation in the area, including the exceptional Villas at Poipu Kai. The Villas at Poipu Kai is a new boutique condominium resort with 3-4 bedroom poolside villas, 2-4 bedroom garden villas, and a stunning private home on the villas property.
In Arizona, near the border with Utah, in the United States, you can find a stunning sandstone rock formation called The Wave. The Wave is on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes, which are in turn located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, on the Colorado Plateau. This formation is actually sand dunes calcified in vertical and horizontal layers, and the fascinating color bands are iron oxides, hematite, and goethite. The Jurassic-age Navajo sandstone making up The Wave is estimated to be 190 million years old. Getting to The Wave requires a moderately difficult 3 mile hike from the Wire Pass Trailhead. Due to the delicate nature of this formation, visitors must arrange a day permit in advance and pay a $7 fee per person. Only 20 of the highly sought-after permits are issued for each day. More info on permits can be found on the Bureau of Land Management website. Camping is not allowed in the permit area, and the closest accommodation can be found in the small towns of Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona.
On the Havasupai Indian Reservation within Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona you will find the gorgeous Havasu Falls. The picture perfect falls features a blue-green pool below which is excellent for swimming. Havasu Falls is fairly difficult to reach by foot, requiring a drive to Hualapai Hilltop and then a 16 km (10 mile) hike to the Falls via the tiny village of Supai which is 3 km (2 miles) from the falls. For those not up to the long hike, a helicopter ride to Supai can be had, followed up by a horseback ride to the falls. Visitors can camp near the falls, and the village of Supai has one lodge and one cafe. Otherwise the best options for accommodation can be found 177 km (110 miles) away in the town of Seligman. The area also features four other waterfalls: Navajo Falls, Supai Falls, Mooney Falls, and Beaver Falls.